Kari Nejak-Bowen, PhD – Women in Pathology

Kari-Nejak Bowen, PhD

Dr. Nejak-Bowen earned a BS in microbiology summa cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh in 1999, an MBA from the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh in 2002, and then a PhD in cellular and molecular pathology from the Graduate School of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh in 2010 (as an Honors Graduate), working in the laboratory of Dr. Paul Monga. She continued her research at the University of Pittsburgh as a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. George Michalopoulos (2010-2012) and then with Dr. Paul Monga (2012-2013). At the conclusion of her postdoctoral research in 2013, Dr. Nejak-Bowen was appointed as Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh. In 2014, Dr. Nejak-Bowen joined the tenure-track with promotion to Assistant Professor in the Division of Experimental Pathology in the Department of Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh (2014-present).

During the course of her short career to-date, Dr. Nejak-Bowen has received numerous awards recognizing the excellence of her research. The American Association for the Study of Liver Disease (AASLD) awarded Dr. Nejak-Bowen the Presidential Poster of Distinction (2015 and 2016). The American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP) has awarded her on several occasions: A.D. Sobel Education Fund Scholar Travel Award (2008 and 2010), Rojkind-Monga-ASIP Trainee Travel Award for Excellence in Liver Pathology Research (2012), Experimental Pathologist-in-Graduate Training Merit Award (2010), the ASIP Young Scientist Leadership Award (2014), and the ASIP Junior Faculty Travel Award (2015). In 2021, Dr. Nejak-Bowen will receive the ASIP Cotran Early Career Investigator Award. These national/international awards reflect the recognition of the larger pathobiology research community of the outstanding nature and impact of Dr. Nejak-Bowen’s research.

Dr. Nejak-Bowen has been and continues to be very active in the American Society for Investigative Pathology. As described above, she has participated in ASIP scientific meeting since she was in graduate school and has received a number of awards for her work from the ASIP. She is also very active in the development of the ASIP scientific meetings, organizing sessions on various forms of liver pathobiology as a member of the ASIP Program Committee. Dr. Nejak-Bowen is currently a Co-Leader of the ASIP Liver Pathobiology Scientific Interest Group, and in this role organizes “meet-the-expert” sessions for the members of that group during the ASIP Annual Meeting. Most recently, Dr. Nejak-Bowen became a member of the inaugural class of ASIP Ambassadors. In this role she has participated in new member campaigns and other initiatives to support the Society.

Dr. Nejak-Bowen’s research has been very productive. To-date she has published 23 original research articles, and the most recent three have her listed as senior author. Dr. Nejak-Bowen has also authored 7 reviews and book chapters. Her publications appear in excellent journals, including Hepatology, Journal of Hepatology, Gastroenterology, American Journal of Pathology, Gene Expression, Journal of Biological Chemistry, among others. Additional evidence of productivity can be gathered from her >40 published abstracts to date. Dr. Nejak-Bowen’s laboratory is well funded. She currently has two R01 grants from the NIDDK/NIH which total >$3.7 million in direct support of her research. She is also a participant on a P30 grant for the Pittsburgh Liver Research Center, and has an additional R01 grant pending. The current thrust of Dr. Nejak-Bowen’s research is focused on the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway in cholestatic liver disease, cholangiopathies, and other forms of liver disease (porphyria). Dr. Nejak-Bowen has given invited lectures in many places since 2010, reflecting that investigators in her field value her research.

Dr. Nejak-Bowen has participated in mentoring trainees in her laboratory since she established her laboratory. These mentoring efforts have benefited various types of learners, including high school students, undergraduates, medical students, predoctoral graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows. She has also participated on a number of PhD dissertation committees, in some cases serving as Chair. She currently supports one predoctoral trainee and one postdoctoral fellow. During the summer of 2019, Dr. Nejak-Bowen participated in the ASIP Summer Research Opportunity in Pathology Program by hosting an undergraduate student in her laboratory. In the classroom, Dr. Nejak-Bowen is Co-Director of a course on the topic of “Stem Cells.” She has participated with teaching this course since 2011. In addition, Dr. Nejak-Bowen is an instructor in a course on the topic of “Molecular Mechanisms of Tissue Growth and Differentiation.” She has participated in the teaching of this course since 2013.